NEW YORK: Wealthy women are increasingly likely to be the family's main earner in the US, and marketers need to react to this societal shift, a new survey has suggested.

The Luxury Institute polled 800 wealthy women from US households earning at least $150,000 a year, asking about their economic situation, personal aspirations, family responsibilities and companies and industries successfully marketing to them.

It found that 41% earn more than half of their family's total income, a figure marking a substantial rise over the past five years. In 2008 the equivalent proportion was 27%.

Some two-thirds of respondents were working or running their own business and the median salary of those working was $181,000. In all, 20% earned $300,000 or more.

The results of the survey have significant implications for the future activity of luxury marketers, the survey suggested.

"We predict that the Millennial women will achieve parity or surpass the achievements of their male counterparts in managerial, entrepreneurial, income and net worth levels in the next two decades," added Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

"Shifting gender roles require brands in traditionally male dominated industries to connect with strong, successful women, but new marketing campaigns are not enough. Companies must drive engagement through channels like social media and one-to-one communication with empowered sales professionals who serve as brand ambassadors."

Women dominate expenditure levels in particular areas of household spending, including food, where 85% are responsible for decision-making, clothing (78%), shoes (78%), and vacations (62%).

But these findings do not tally with those product categories the survey found to be marketing most effectively to these women. These include fragrances and cosmetics, clothing, shampoo and conditioner, shoes, department stores and jewellery.

Pedraza also observed to Luxury Daily that there were likely to be opportunities in the financial sector, where 12% of affluent women said other people currently make investment decisions for them.

"We'll see a lot of brands in the financial services and brands that are at the bottom try to understand how to develop and brand products to women," he said.

Data sourced from Luxury Institute, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff